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The stolen stone calendar

In Besao town in Mt. Province, portions of a centuries-old stone calendar were stolen, ruining a rice cycle still practiced by indigenous Agawa residents.

Members of the Agawa tribe in Besao are aware of their loss.

They tracked down the calendar when it disappeared in 1986, but recovered only a third of the relic. Many of them believed the loss was “political motivated.”

The stone tablet has deep markings, which describe village rituals as soon as the sun’s rays hit the calendar at certain periods of the year. The rays signal the start of rice planting.

Gloria Bantog, a member of the Agawa tribe, said the calendar was used as a community ritual journal.

The short marks on the tablet indicate that the village should butcher a small pig for the gods, while the longer lines suggest that a larger boar should be sacrificed for a specific planting period.

The late historian and anthropologist William Henry Scott found similarities in the markings on the defaced stone calendar and the ancient form of writing in China during the Shang Dynasty in 16 BC. [source]